In Search of Wholeness: Transcending Language(s) and Art Forms

A Conversation between Natasha Lvovich and Olga Mezhibovskaya


  • Natasha Lvovich Kingsborough Community College
  • Olga Mezhibovskaya School of Visual Art


Natasha Lvovich interviews an interdisciplinary artist / designer, educator, and musician / musicologist, the multilingual Olga Mezhibovskaya, who discusses the complex relationship between languages (in this case, Russian and English) and artistic modalities, art forms, and genres. Mezhibovskaya's main scholarly focus (which she studied through music and in Russian) and now in art is wholeness, which could be understood as synthesis of all forms, interdisciplinarity and interconnectedness, what Roman Jakobson termed as "intersemiotic translation." References to Mezhibovskaya's numerous interdisciplinary projects, extremely rich with various intersemiotic connections, are both described and shown as visuals (URLs), videos and illustrations.

Author Biographies

Natasha Lvovich, Kingsborough Community College

Lvovich is a writer and scholar of multilingualism and of translingual literature. She teaches at the City University of New York (Kingsborough Community College) and divides her loyalties between academic and creative writing. Among her publications is a book of autobiographical narratives, The Multilingual Self, followed by more than a dozen creative nonfiction pieces and innovative interdisciplinary essays on multilingual identity and creativity. Among her latest publications are: "The Gift: Synesthesia in Translingual Texts" and "Translingual Identity and Art: Marc Chagall's Stride through the Gates of Janus". For the last decade she has been organizing panels and seminars on literary translingualism at international conferences, guest editing academic journals (with Steven Kellman), and lecturing on the topic internationally (e.g., a series of lectures on the topic as a visiting professor at École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France). She was a lead organizer of the very first symposium on translingual literature "Writing the Stepmother Tongue" and a recipient of several CUNY Chancellor Fellowships and other awards for her research on multilingualism, exile, and creativity in literature and the arts.

Olga Mezhibovskaya, School of Visual Art

Mezhibovskaya is an educator, designer, and interdisciplinary artist. She received her BA in Choir Conducting in 1977 and her MA in Musicology in 1984, both from Saratov Conservatory of Music in Russia. Olga taught music theory, music history, piano, and solfeggio, and for several years, was a soprano singer in the Polyanskiy choir at Moscow Conservatory. Upon immigrating to the United States, Olga changed her career and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York with a BFA in Graphic Design in 1997. She worked as a book designer for St. Martin's Press, Random House and Times Books before continuing her teaching career, now as a designer, at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn where she was a tenured Assistant Professor. Olga finished her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College in Vermont in 2002 and has been an Instructor at the School of Visual Arts for nearly two decades. She teaches Basic Typography, Design with Type, Interdisciplinary Design, and Senior Interdisciplinary Design Portfolio and often collaborates with musicians, dancers, playwrights, poets, fashion designers, and actors. As an educator Olga inspires her students to experiment and develop an open-minded perception of what the possibilities of graphic design can be.